Health care: post election

With the majority of electoral votes, President Obama was re-elected this past Tuesday, Nov. 6. With four more years in office, the president will be able to implement his Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, commonly called Obamacare, the way it was originally designed. This law was among some of the most significant issues of the 2012 presidential election. Republican candidate Mitt Romney, along with the vast majority of Republican voters, has a strong opposition to Obamacare.

Alabama, Florida, Montana and Wyoming had ballot initiatives to amend the state constitutions to prohibit the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. Only Florida’s did not pass the initiative. These amendments to their state constitutions will lead to more challenges in federal courts because restricting Obamacare is a violation of a federal mandate.  According to the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution, federal laws and treaties are the supreme law of the land, so in theory even these new amendments to states’ constitutions do not interrupt the president’s implementation of his controversial law.

It was in 2010 that President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act and turned it into law, and since then there have been several challenges in federal courts to determine the constitutionality of the legislation.  Recently, the U.S Supreme Court declared that Obamacare was constitutional as a tax and only placed a few restrictions on the expansion of Medicaid. With the recent Supreme Court decision and his newly won re-election, President Obama is now free to exercise his power and implement his policy. Starting Jan. 1, 2014, if an employer does not offer insurance employees will be able to buy it in the Affordable Insurance Exchange. The Exchange is a new transparent insurance marketplace where individuals and small businesses can buy affordable health plans. Perhaps the most controversial aspect of the Affordable Care Act will come into effect in 2015: paying physicians based off the quality of care they provide. Many physicians will see their salaries altered; those who provide a higher quality care will receive a larger payment than those who provide lower quality care.

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 will continue to stir controversy as the president’s second term progresses. Some UTSA students seem discontented about the president’s re-election and its effect on healthcare. Such is the case for Manuel Valencia, a finance and marketing double-major student. He argues, “It is unfortunate that Barack Obama has been re-elected. This allows his healthcare reform to move forward and it is not an efficient approach because it limits competition among the private sector.”

Other students are glad that the Obama Administration can continue to implement its policy and have high hopes for what Obamacare will bring in years to come.

Despite its controversy, the majority of Americans voted to re-elect President Obama, giving him a chance to implement his policy the way he intended in 2008.